Male Survivors

A new body has been created to support the development of male survivors of sexual violence charities across the UK.

The Male Survivors Partnership will develop quality standards for the support of men who are victims of sexual violence, and work with 10 organisation across the UK to develop their work.

The partnership is founded by Survivors Manchester, Mankind UK, Safeline, Survivors UK and First Step Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

It has been granted £85,000 from the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales to work alongside Lime Culture Community Interest Company, a leading national sexual violence training and development organisation.

Stephanie Reardon, joint chief executive at Lime Culture, said: “This is a really exciting step forward for support services working with males who have experienced sexual violence”.

“With this funding, we will be doing a comprehensive review of existing service standards from around the world, consulting with experts in the field and listening to the views of males who have accessed support about what works. This will result in an agreed framework for services supporting males that will be rolled out across the UK.

“For males who have experienced sexual violence these new standards and the accreditation process that goes with them, will give a layer of reassurance about the quality of the services they are accessing at a time when they are feeling most vulnerable. They will have the knowledge that they will receive a nationally approved level of care and support – something they haven’t previously had.”

First Step Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are also a part of this partnership.

Source: Third Force News

Russel Dawson

A sexual abuse survivor, Russel Dawson, is bringing a support group for male victims to North Devon, the group is called moMENtum.

A support group founded by a sexual abuse survivor is joining forces with a successful counselling service to bring care and help to North Devon victims.

Russel Dawson now lives in Braunton but co-founded moMENtum, a peer support group for non-offending adult male survivors of child sexual abuse, when he was based in Exeter.

The 48-year-old was a victim of recently-released North Devon paedophile policeman Danny Bryant, and said working with the group for the past five years had helped him when he was struggling with life and with mental health problems.

Russel said: “There is help out there, it’s difficult to access sometimes, especially for male survivors. Finding the safe way of getting that help is important. If something bad happens when they first disclose what has happened they are likely to just shut down again and not get help.

“There are regional and national organisations designed to help people who have been sexually abused in childhood so it’s worth doing a bit of research and contact someone who can do the appropriate work, rather than someone who might say the wrong thing. It can be difficult for other people to deal with.

“All you need is someone who is prepared to listen, and won’t minimise it or say ‘don’t worry, it happened ages ago’. Someone who understands the effect it is still having now.

“If you get the right help, it is definitely worthwhile. I was struggling with life and with mental health problems. I have been fortunate to have got the help I have had and if you can get help it is definitely worth working on but it is not a walk in the park.”

The groups at moMENtum gather together with shared experiences and meet as equals. The service is self-funded and helps talk through feelings of shame, anxiety, depression and a variety of mental health problems which stem from abuse, including eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction.

Russel Dawson said being in a room with people who have all had to carry shame for decades without telling people and hearing them say the same things others have thought for so long is really powerful.

He said: “When you realise you’re not the only one, it really resonates that you are going through the exact same things, the aftermath. People who have been abused shouldn’t be ashamed, the shame should belong to the abuser.

“These mental difficulties are perfectly normal human reaction to abnormal circumstances. Anyone who had been through extreme circumstances would respond in the same way to such extreme pressure.

“We know how important it is to get help, I was fortunate to get help, and you can get it in a variety of ways. It is life-changing to get the right sort of help.”

Russel Dawson is keen that moMENtum could link to female survivors and Karen Black’s North Devon counselling service Survivors Alliance North Devon CIC (SAND).

Karen, herself a survivor of sexual abuse who waived her automatic right to anonymity, set up the counselling company in August 2016, and has already had 13 referrals, averaging out at two per month.

Karen said: “I worked with Russel and he was really my inspiration, he gave me the little push I needed to go ahead to start this up. He and his wife are both wonderful people and have helped me so much, including doing a massive amount of networking.”

2017 has seen Karen receive weekly enquiries from community centres, GP surgeries, colleagues, local police and self-referrals for her services, seeing the project outgrow the free space time that Slee Blackwell Solicitors in Barnstaple had offered.

Though the team are fundraising, Karen would be grateful to any group or individual who would consider committing to a monthly payment of perhaps £10 or £20 to help the project go forward.

Anyone looking to join a moMENtum group in North Devon or donate to SAND can call Karen on 07763 617 693.

If you need support now, these numbers may be of help:

The Samaritans (24 hours) 08457 90 90 90
National Association of People Abused in Childhood 10am to 9pm Monday to Thursday; 10am to 6pm Friday: 0808 801 0331
Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline: Monday to Sunday 7pm to 10pm 08088 000 188
Survivors UK Monday and Tuesday 6pm to 9pm; Wednesday 12pm to 2:30pm and 6pm to 9pm; Thursday 12pm to 2:30pm
DevonAlliance working with Childhood Sexual Abuse

For anyone in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and who would like to speak to somebody about our support service, please contact First Step.

The Moore Show, have uploaded the video for Male Survivors of Child Abuse.

On the video of Male Survivors of Child Abuse, 3 brave male survivors of sexual abuse, Peter Saunders (Founder of NAPAC), Graham Wilmer (Founder of The Lantern Project) and Joe Peters (No1 Best Selling Author of Cry Silent Tears) speak out about their horrific stories.

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